The Supreme Court on Thursday refused urgent hearing of a contempt petition moved by two women against Chief Priest of Sabarimala temple and its authorities for closing the shrine after two females of menstruating age group entered it, breaking a centuries-old tradition.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul said that the contempt petition will be heard along with the pending review petitions against the September 28 apex court verdict which allowed women of all age groups to enter the temple.
“We cannot constitute a separate bench for hearing the contempt petition,” the bench said, adding that the contempt petition will be heard on January 22 along with pending review petitions.
Advocate P V Dinesh, appearing for petitioners Varsha and Geena Kumari, told the bench that the temple authorities closed the shrine on Wednesday for purification after the women entered it.
The apex court had last September allowed the entry of women of all age groups into the temple.
Bringing to the notice of the court, yesterday’s events Dinesh requested for early listing of the contempt petition filed on November 16 against the chief priest and other temple authorities alleging that women were being not allowed to enter Sabarimala temple despite the apex court’s verdict.
On Wednesday, two women of menstruating age group had stepped into the Sabarimala temple of Lord Ayyappa, breaking a centuries-old tradition and defying dire threats from the Hindu right.
Kanakadurga, 44, and Bindu, 42, stepped into the hallowed precincts guarded by police three months after the apex court’s historic judgement lifting the ban on entry of girls and women between 10 and 50 years of age into the shrine of Lord Ayyappa, its “eternally celibate” deity.
Following the entry of the women into the shrine, the chief priest had decided to close the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in order to perform the ‘purification’ ceremony.
Despite the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on September 28 last year, permitting women in the 10-50 age group, no children or young women in the ‘barred’ group were able to offer prayers at the shrine following frenzied protests by devotees and right-wing outfits.